Neck

Neck Articles

The surprising side effects from using technology

Using electronic devices, such as smartphones and computers, can lead to joint pain. Frequent texting can cause strain or overuse injuries of the tendons that run from the wrist to the thumb (a condition called De Quervain’s tenosynovitis). Pushing buttons too hard can lead to inflammation around the tendons and pulleys that bend the fingers, increasing the risk for trigger finger (stenosing tenosynovitis). Typing can worsen carpal tunnel syndrome symptoms. Looking down at devices for long periods can lead to neck pain. Pain relief may come with rest and changing the way one uses electronic devices. More »

Is your pillow hurting your health?

Pillows are useful tools for comfort and positioning. The right sleeping position can help stave off symptoms of heartburn and some conditions that cause dizziness. But pillows can cause harm if they provide too much or too little support, leading to back or neck pain. And pillows can’t eliminate health problems such as restless legs syndrome or sleep apnea—even though some pillows are marketed as solutions to snoring and sleep disorders. The only way to address sleep disorders is to talk to a doctor and get a proper diagnosis and treatment. More »

Is your workout giving you a stiff neck?

When people do not use the proper form during physical activity, they may experience neck pain. Common mistakes include extending the neck forward when swinging a golf club, looking up while doing a “downward dog” position in yoga, and leaning too far over bicycle handlebars. Tucking your chin back toward the neck helps keep the neck in a neutral position and may help reduce pain. Strengthening the neck, shoulder, and core muscles also helps prevent neck pain. More »

When a pain in the neck is serious

A cervical artery dissection is a tear in one of the arteries in the neck that carry blood to the brain. Although rare, it is one of the most common causes of stroke in people under age 50. Sudden movements that twist or hyperextend the neck can cause the problem. They include whiplash from a car accident, chiropractic neck adjustments, certain intense forms of exercise, and tipping the head back over a sink at a beauty salon. The pain from a neck artery dissection is unusual, persistent, and often accompanied by a severe headache. (Locked) More »

In a slump? Fix your posture

Most changes in posture are a result of bad habits, such as sitting hunched over and not standing correctly. Over time, these habits can create muscle weakness and imbalances that can trigger spasms and place stress on the neck, low back, and shoulders. More »

Do habits cause your neck pain?

Looking down at a smartphone or laptop for long periods of time can cause neck pain. The position flexes the neck forward and requires the use of neck and shoulder muscles. Over time, this position may strain the muscles to the point of weakness. To relieve pain, it helps to raise a screen closer to eye level and to do neck exercises and stretches. Posture is important, too. Supporting the arms while sitting also helps, since taking pressure off the arms takes pressure off the shoulder muscles. More »

Turn away from neck pain

Approximately 80% of people experience neck pain during their lifetime, and 20% to 50% deal with it annually. Besides the obvious physical discomfort, neck pain can trigger headaches and cause numbness, tingling, or weakness in your arms, and may be linked to medical problems, including rheumatoid arthritis or infection. Making certain lifestyle changes can keep your neck strong, healthy, and pain-free.  (Locked) More »

Where does it hurt?

The Harvard Health Decision Guides help you determine the appropriate next steps to alleviate your pain. More »